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Hazardous Waste Management

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If your business has been identified as a generator of hazardous waste and/or universal waste, you must follow certain Federal and State hazardous waste laws. The intent of these laws is to ensure that hazardous waste will be properly managed to protect public health and the environment.

The Department of Environmental Health, Hazardous Materials Division (HMD) has been certified by the California Environmental Agency (CalEPA) as the local Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA), and thus responsible for implementing these laws and regulations at the local level. Hazardous waste requirements involve many different areas of regulation and we have simplified the more important ones for you within these pages. This information will help you understand your  basic responsibilities as a hazardous waste generator.

UPCOMING EVENT: Compliance Workshop for School Districts on May 29, 2013, click here for additional information.


»Biennial Report»Labeling
»Business Plans or Emergency Contingency Plans»Personnel Training
»Definition of Hazardous Waste - DTSC»Storage
»Emergency Preparedness and Prevention»Transportation
»Emergency Procedures»Treatment and Disposal
»EPA Identification Number»Waste Determination
»Generator Class»Violations

"Universal wastes,” which include batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment and lamps, are also hazardous waste. Regulations govern the collection and management of these widely generated wastes, thus facilitating environmentally sound collection and proper recycling or treatment. These regulations ease the regulatory burden on retail stores and others that wish to collect universal wastes and encourage the development of municipal and commercial programs to reduce the quantity of these wastes going to municipal solid waste landfills or combustors. In addition, the regulations also ensure that the wastes subject to this system will go to appropriate treatment or recycling facilities pursuant to the full hazardous waste regulatory controls. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) universal waste web site has additional information. DTSC also has a hazardous waste management web page.

You may review California Hazardous Waste Control Statutes and regulations by visiting the Department of Toxic Substances Control web site at You may also obtain copies of California’s Hazardous Waste Control Regulations from Barclays Law Publishers. They can be reached at (800) 888-3600. 

Generator Class

Different regulations apply to hazardous waste generators depending on the monthly volume of hazardous waste produced.

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG) are those who generate less than 100 KG per month. Accumulation start date is when the first 100 Kg of waste has been accumulated. Waste may be stored on site up to 180 days or up 270 days if the distance to the treatment or disposal facility is more than 200 miles.

Small Quantity Generators (SQG) are those who produce more than 100 Kg but less than 1000 Kg of waste or less than 1 Kg of acutely hazardous waste per month. Accumulation start date is the day 100 Kg of waste has been accumulated. Waste may be stored on site up to 180 days or up 270 days if the distance to the treatment or disposal facility is more than 200 miles.

Large Quantity Generators (LQG) generators who produce more than 1000 Kg per month of all hazardous waste generated on site. Accumulation start date is when the first waste is accumulated. There is a 90 day storage time limit.

Each generator class is subject to different regulations for employee training, training documentation and written contingency plans. For additional information, check DTSC’s web site for the following Fact sheets:
Accumulating Hazardous Waste at Generator Sites (Jan 2002)
Hazardous Waste Generator Requirements (Jan 2002)
Hazardous Waste Accumulation Time for Generators (Dec 2006)
Tank System Requirements for Small Quantity Generator Sites
Tank System Requirements for Large Quantity Generator Sites


Hazardous Waste Determination

It is the generator’s responsibility to determine whether or not a waste must be stored, transported and disposed of as a hazardous waste. Often this determination can be made by knowledge of the process and materials used that generated the waste. However, questionable waste streams may need to be chemically or physically analyzed. All analyses done by the generator must be completed by certified laboratories using specified procedures. A generator may, upon payment of a fee (HSC 25205.8), apply to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and obtain concurrence as to whether a particular waste stream is hazardous or non-hazardous.

Hazardous Waste Determination Guidance

Waste Pharmaceuticals: Hazardous Waste Determination Guidance

Laws adopted in 2000 created California’s “Universal Waste Rule” to simplify how we manage many common hazardous wastes. All universal wastes are hazardous wastes and, without the new rules they would have to be managed under the same stringent standards as other hazardous wastes.

You may contact the Hazardous Materials Duty Desk at (858) 505-6880 or look in the yellow pages for information regarding certified testing laboratories, testing procedures and required documentation.

Sample Universal Waste Label


How to Obtain an EPA Identification Number

An EPA ID number is needed if you generate any amount of a regulated hazardous waste and for large quantity universal waste handler's (handling 5,000 kg or more of universal waste at one time).

Regardless of size, an EPA ID number is necessary for all generators participating in consolidated manifesting, except for generators of less than 100 kg/month of “silver-only” hazardous wastes. (See DTSC Consolidated Transporters and Consolidated Manifesting fact sheets at

California Permanent ID Numbers
Businesses that generate waste on an ongoing basis must have a permanent ID number. To get a permanent ID number, you need to complete the required application, DTSC Form 1358. There is no fee to obtain a permanent ID number. Permanent ID numbers can not be obtained by phone.

California Temporary ID Numbers
Temporary ID numbers (90-day numbers) are issued to people or businesses that do not routinely generate hazardous waste. Call (800) 618-6942 to get a temporary ID number. Hours are Monday through Friday 8:15 to 4:45, closed during the lunch hour. To get a temporary ID number, for a spill after hours, call (800) 852-7550. There is no fee to obtain a temporary ID number.

DTSC has a web form for getting a temporary EPA ID if you prefer. 


Storage of Hazardous Wastes

The actions described below are designed to minimize the seriousness of a hazardous materials incident, should one occur on your premises. These requirements apply to all generators of hazardous waste with some exceptions. Generators, that generate no more than 100 kg exclusively of silver-only hazardous waste must comply only with the federal Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQG) requirements. Small Quantity Generators of less than 1000 kg of hazardous waste per month may, in some cases, store their hazardous waste longer than 90 days.

At a minimum, you will need to ensure that hazardous wastes are:

  • Stored in non-leaking tank or containers in good condition with tight-fitting lids
  • Are kept closed when wastes are not being added or removed.
  • Accurately labeled with water-proof stickers. Labels must specify the words "Hazardous Waste"; the composition and physical state of the waste; the hazardous properties of the waste (e.g., flammable, reactive, etc.); and the name and address of the generator.
  • Labeled with the date that the waste accumulation began on each tank or container. This date is the date waste is first placed into the container or tank.
  • Handled in tanks or containers in good repair. These tanks and containers must be regularly inspected for deterioration, damage or leaks.
  • Managed in a way that minimizes the possibility of spills and escape of waste into the environment.
  • Incompatible waste: not stored in a common storage area without proper separation. Used oil may not be mixed with any other hazardous waste (e.g., solvents).
  • Ignitable or reactive waste: Stored at least 15 meters (50 ft.) from property lines (this only applies to large quantity generators of hazardous waste). Ignitable waste must be grounded when material is being added or removed. Contact the fire department in your jurisdiction to learn about their local requirements regarding handling of flammable wastes.
  • Stored onsite according to storage time limits prescribed in the regulations. Storage times vary depending on the monthly generation rate of hazardous waste throughout the entire facility. Generators may store hazardous wastes onsite for 90 or 180 days depending on the volume of waste produced. In some cases the wastes may be stored for up to 270 days if the offsite treatment, disposal, or storage facility is more than 200 miles away.
  • Contact the HMD for additional guidance on hazardous waste storage times.
  • Generators of hazardous waste who exceed the storage maximum must apply for and obtain a treatment, storage and disposal permit from the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (714) 484-5300. Additional conditions and requirements apply to those facilities.


Hazardous Waste Labeling

Generators that accumulate and store hazardous waste on-site must comply with the following labeling requirements. The containers, including tanks, must be properly labeled with the information listed below:

    • The waste accumulation start date and the words "HAZARDOUS WASTE"
    • The physical state and composition of the waste
    • Warning words indicating the particular hazards of the waste, such as: toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive
    • The establishment/business name and address of the facility which generated the waste

Sample Labels: 

Hazardous WasteUniversal Waste"Empty Container"


Transportation of Hazardous Wastes

1. Use of a Registered Hazardous Waste Hauler

Hazardous wastes must be transported only by State registered hazardous waste haulers to a State-permitted treatment, storage, or disposal facility (TSDF). These haulers are registered by the State Department of Toxic Substances Control and California Highway Patrol. Visit the California Department of Toxic Substances Control website, or call the HMD at (858) 505-6880 to request a partial listing of registered haulers serving the San Diego County area. Hazardous waste must be packaged and labeled for transport in accordance with applicable Department of Transportation regulations.

2. FEDERAL Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest

All hazardous waste handlers are required to use a Federal hazardous waste manifest. All unused California Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifests must be discarded (recycled).

  • The federal uniform hazardous waste manifest consists of 6 white pages.
  • The federal manifest does not include a generator copy for submission to the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). A generator must make a legible photocopy of the manifest and mail it to DTSC within 30 days of shipping the waste. (The top page will make a clearer copy than the bottom page, so consider making a copy before the transporter leaves with the manifest.)
  • Generators must purchase manifests from an U.S.EPA-approved printer. A list of approved printers may be found on the DTSC web site under Manifest Registry.
  • Fields were added to the federal manifest that were not on the California manifest: Generator site address, 24-hour emergency phone #, space for 6 waste codes per line, import/export, discrepancy categories, rejected loads, and alternate facility.
  • The federal manifest has space for load rejection information (cause, destination, and reference to a new manifest if one is used). In latter case the TSDF creates a new manifest and returns the load to the generator.

What are Hazardous Waste Report Management Method Codes (HWRMM Codes)?
Previously, California’s waste manifest instructions required the Destination Facilities use one of 10 handling codes to report how the waste was handled at that facility. The new manifest uses 28 Management Method Codes. These are the same codes used in Biennial Reports. Only Destination Facilities are allowed to add the HWRMM codes to the manifest. Generators and transporters do not add these codes.

Hazardous waste transported for disposal or treatment must be accompanied by a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest form. As a generator of hazardous waste, you are responsible and liable for the wastes you generate. Accurately completing a manifest form ensures that you will receive notice after the wastes have been delivered to the licensed hazardous waste facility. It also is required to meet your responsibility as a hazardous waste generator. A receipt, instead of a manifest, is acceptable for the transportation hazardous wastes eligible Consolidated manifesting. See DTSC Fact Sheets on Consolidated Manifesting.

All records of hazardous waste transported offsite must be kept at the location where the waste was generated for at least 3 years. This includes manifest copies and/or receipts from used oil or solvent transporters.

Where do Generators send manifests copies?
Generators must make a readable and legible copy of the manifest and mail it to:

DTSC Generator Manifests
P.O. Box 400
Sacramento, CA 95812-0400

Where do TSDF and Destination Facilities send manifest copies?
TSDFs and Destination Facilities must mail their manifest copies to:

DTSC Facility Manifests
P.O. Box 3000
Sacramento, CA 95812-3000

In order to complete a hazardous waste manifest, the person generating the hazardous waste must have a valid EPA Identification number (a twelve character number beginning with CA). (See instructions on how to obtain an EPA ID#).

All of the following steps must taken to complete a manifest:

a. Fill in the top part of the manifest form completely and accurately. Directions for filling out the manifest form are listed on the back of the manifest form. Be sure to use the new Federal EPA Manifest form OMB no. 2050-0039. It is recommended that generators access the DTSC web site at for complete instructions for completing the new Federal Hazardous Waste Manifest form.

b. Generator and transporter must sign and date the manifest.

c. The generator must keep the generator’s initial manifest (page 6) , make a copy of it, and mail it to the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). The remaining five copies of the manifest are to be given to the transporter.

d. The licensed Treatment, Storage or Disposal Facility (TSDF) will mail one signed copy back to the generator when they receive the waste from the transporter. This copy must also be kept for at least three years. If the copy from the TSDF is not received within 35 days, you must contact the transporter and/or operator of the TSDF to determine the status of the hazardous waste. It is the generator's responsibility to track all loads of hazardous waste and to ensure that the manifests have been returned by the required date.

e. All hazardous wastes are subject to land disposal restrictions (LDR). The LDR notification must be sent with the manifest and a copy kept on-site by the waste generator.


Personnel Training

A personnel training program shall be designed to ensure that employees are able to respond effectively to emergencies. This is to be accomplished by familiarizing the employees with emergency procedures, emergency equipment, and emergency systems, including where applicable:

  • procedures for using, inspecting, repairing and replacing facility emergency and monitoring equipment;
  • communications and alarm systems;
  • response to spills, fires, or explosions;
  • response to groundwater contamination incidents;
  • how to shut down operations;
  • operation of automatic waste feed cutoff systems (if applicable); and
  • emergency notification procedures.

The following records must be maintained at the facility by the owner/operator where the business is a large quantity generator:

  • the job title and job description for each position related to hazardous waste management and the name of the employee filling each job. The job description should include the required skills, education, or other qualifications and duties of employees assigned to each position;
  • a written description of the type and amount of training (introductory and continuing) that will be given to each person filling the positions listed above; and
  • documentation that the training required has been completed by each employee identified.

The above records must be maintained for current employees and for former employees for at least three years after the employee leaves the business.


Treatment and Disposal

Hazardous wastes must be disposed of only at State permitted treatment, storage or disposal facilities. Hazardous wastes may not be disposed of in the regular trash or onto the surface of the ground or into the storm drain. In addition, they may not be dumped in the sewer system (i.e., a floor drain, sink or toilet) unless you have an industrial waste discharge pretreatment permit from your local sewer agency for that specific waste.

If you wish to dispose of, treat, or recycle your hazardous waste to render it less toxic or non-hazardous at your business location, you must obtain prior authorization from the Sate Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) at (714) 484-5300.

Businesses that generate less than 27 gallons or 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month or less than one quart or 2.2 pounds of acutely hazardous waste (referred to as Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators or CESQGs) may use the County’s Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program for small businesses. For more information call 1-800-714-1195, or visit the San Diego County Household Hazardous Waste web site.


Biennial Report

Large Quantity Generators (>1000 kg/month) of RCRA hazardous waste are required to submit a Biennial Report to the DTSC by March 1 of each even-numbered year. The report must be submitted on forms provided by DTSC. Questions regarding the biennial report should be directed to the DTSC at (916) 322-2880. NOTE: Generators of only Non-RCRA hazardous waste and very small quantity generators of RCRA waste may not have to prepare a Biennial Report. (See CCR Title 22, Section 66262.41).


Hazardous waste regulations are intended to prevent the mismanagement of hazardous waste which could lead to conditions which may cause harm to humans or to the environment. Since hazardous materials can cause serious or fatal injuries, penalties have been established for willful or negligent violation of the hazardous waste laws. Violations may result in civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day of violation or criminal penalties of up to $250,000 per day of violation and/or up to three years in a State prison.

Emergency Preparedness and Prevention

Your business must be maintained and operated to minimize the possibility of a release of hazardous waste to the air, soil, or surface water which could threaten human health or the environment.

Employees handling hazardous waste must have access to either an alarm system, a communications system, or be in voice contact with another employee. If one employee is working alone, he shall have access to a telephone or two-way radio to summon external assistance.

The owner/operator must maintain adequate aisle space to allow the unobstructed movement of personnel, fire protection equipment, spill control equipment and decontamination equipment in case of emergency.

The following emergency equipment should be provided and maintained at your job site.

  • portable fire extinguishers
  • fire control equipment
  • spill control equipment
  • decontamination equipment

For additional Spill Reporting information visit:
The California Emergency Management Agency (formerly Office of Emergency Services) web site:
County of San Diego Spill and Release Reporting Web Page


Emergency Procedures

If your business has a hazardous waste spill, release, fire or explosion, you must report this release as follows:

  1. Notify your local fire department (911) and the Hazardous Materials Division at (858) 505-6657
  2. Additionally in every situation which threatens human health or the environment a notification must be made to the California Office of Emergency Services 1-800-852-7550, and provide the following information:
    • Name and telephone number of person reporting;
    • Name and address of facility;
    • Time and type of incident;
    • Name and quantity of hazardous material(s) involved;
    • Extent of injuries;
    • Possible hazard to human health and the environment outside the facility.

During the emergency, you must take all reasonable measures to ensure that fires, explosions, and chemical releases do not spread. These measures may include:

    • Stopping operations;
    • Collecting and containing released waste; and
    • Removing or isolating chemical containers.

Business Plans or Emergency Contingency Plans

Every hazardous waste generator is required to have an emergency contingency plan (business plan) designed to minimize hazards to human health and the environment from fires, explosions, or an unplanned release of hazardous waste to air, soil, or surface water. The plan shall be carried out immediately whenever a fire, explosion or unplanned chemical release occurs. All business plan forms are required to be submitted through the California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) website.  Templates for business plan forms are available from the HMD Forms link below. 


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